This is my last year of high school, yet my first year of remote learning. With everything going on this past year, there were a lot of new challenges I had to adapt to, and a new class schedule was one of them. Though it took a little bit to get used to, I soon fell into the habit of the long classes and large breaks between them. While it might not seem like the best way to spend my senior year, I think remote learning was better than the alternatives.
Staying home gives us a more personalized schedule, where we have more freedom to take breaks and work on more things during the day. Recent trends have shown that creativity has increased during quarantine. People took to social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram to post creative videos from their homes. People became creative in mask usage, employing Halloween masks and other costumes to perform everyday tasks such as taking out the garbage. They even began making masks. Italian citizens sang together from their balconies. New York City residents would bang pots and blow horns every day to express appreciation for frontline workers. And creative arts professionals found new ways to make their art, moving collaborations online. Even students here at Whitney Young had more time to be creative, such as Margaret Meyers ’21, who says, “I was able to spend more time on hobbies that I did not get to enjoy during in person learning.”
Remote learning has its downsides, as all things do. It can add to the feeling of isolation and loneliness that is prevalent during the pandemic. “As a senior, I miss the chance of seeing my friends during passing periods, and being on a screen all day tends to affect my mood as well,” says Chloe Kim ’21. Impacts of isolation are both physical and mental. Physically, social isolation and loneliness can increase blood pressure and increase the risk for heart disease. Mentally, it can cause insomnia, poor health, impaired functional status, vision deficits, a perceived negative impact on quality of life, and increase the risk for suicide.
Despite that, I believe that remote learning is the best option for us because it can reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in July of 2020, states with school closures had an associated drastic decrease in both Covid-19 cases and deaths. The earlier the state closed the schools, the flatter the curve of cases. Student Alexandrium Flores ’22, agrees that, with remote learning in practice, “[There’s] less risk from getting or being exposed to COVID.”
While there are disadvantages to remote learning, the good outweighs the bad. Above all, we should be trying to keep each other and our families safe during this time of danger and uncertainty. While it’s not ideal to spend my last year of high school apart from my peers, there are ways to get around that with enough planning and caution. Let’s make the most of the time we have.